Tailgating, or following a vehicle too closely, is a common cause of car crashes. Often, speed is a major factor in these accidents, and in many cases, tailgating results in serious injuries to motorists. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh car accident lawyer Carl Nagle provides guidance and representation to injured individuals and their families following a collision. Our staff has helped victims throughout the state recover compensation for their harm, including residents of Winston-Salem, Wilmington, and Asheville.
We bring sophistication and a depth of knowledge to our client representation. Carl Nagle previously worked as an insurance defense attorney and insurance claims adjuster. He is keenly aware of the insurance defense tactics that may decrease settlement awards for victims, which means he also knows how to anticipate and fight back against them.
Pursue Compensation from a Driver Responsible for a Tailgating Accident
North Carolina law provides that victims of motor vehicle collisions may pursue damages from any responsible party. Often, accident victims pursue a negligence claim against a defendant driver who failed to act as a reasonable person would have acted under the circumstances. Tailgating another driver is an example of negligent behavior, since it is unreasonable to follow a motorist too closely. When a driver is following too closely, the reaction time decreases, such that the tailgating vehicle may not be able to avoid causing a rear-end collision.
Our traffic laws include N.C.G.S. 20-152 which governs how drivers must approach the situation where cars are traveling in the lane directly ahead of them. This statute provides as follows:
(a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
(b) The driver of any motor vehicle traveling upon a highway outside of a business or residential district and following another motor vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a motor vehicle from overtaking and passing another motor vehicle. This provision shall not apply to funeral processions.
Thus, in all cases, drivers must maintain a safe lookout to watch for traffic ahead and behind them, and they must consider speed, traffic conditions and weather conditions to ensure that they are always leaving enough space ahead to ensure that they will not collide into a driver ahead who may encounter an emergency requiring a sudden stop.
In order to prevail in a negligence claim against another driver, the victim must show that the defendant driver owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused their resulting injuries and damages. Dangerous “road rage” behavior, such as tailgating, will be deemed negligent. Even without intentional tailgating, N.C.G.S. 20-152 requires all drivers to leave a safe distance so that a collision can be easily avoided.
One issue that a plaintiff may face in a tailgating accident case is a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff is also partly responsible for the crash. This is the defense of contributory negligence, and under North Carolina law, a plaintiff found partly responsible for an accident will be barred from recovering any compensation. However, in the event that it was the defendant who had the last clear chance to avoid the accident, the plaintiff still would be able to recover compensation.
An example in a situation related to tailgating may be a plaintiff driver who is deemed negligent because they failed to slow down as soon as they should have when they saw an approaching hazard, such as a construction zone. While the plaintiff may have contributed to the accident and their injuries through their own carelessness, if the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the accident before ramming their vehicle into the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle, the defendant still would be liable for damages.
Victims of tailgating collisions typically can seek damages resulting from both economic and non-economic harms. For example, hospital bills and missed wages from work are considered economic costs. Non-economic harm includes pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress. In any type of personal injury claim, it is critical to account for future damages in addition to those that have already been incurred. At Nagle & Associates, we can enlist experts in the medical and vocational fields to help establish your right to these forms of compensation.
Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Raleigh Lawyer
Aggressive driving is dangerous, and Raleigh car accident attorney Carl Nagle is prepared to assert your right to recover compensation from a tailgating driver. Contact our firm online or at (800) 411-1583 now to speak with a motor vehicle collision lawyer about your unique legal circumstances. As an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer, Carl Nagle can devise a strategy that is tailored to the details of your situation. We represent victims and their families throughout North Carolina, including in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Greensboro, Charlotte, Hickory, and other communities throughout Wake, Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Guilford, Brunswick, Durham, New Hanover, Catawba, and Cumberland Counties. If one of our seven offices is not close, we are able to meet with you at your residence if this helps to get your case started and moving forward.